tv Washington Week PBS January 6, 2012 8:00pm-8:30pm PST
gwen: a squeaker in iowa followed by another big test here in new hampshire. we bring you the truth and the consequences as we take our show on the road tonight on "washington week." up in the air. >> my goodness, what a squeaker, but it sure is nice to have a win, i will tell you. gwen: don't defer your judgment to what a national poll says. have you to get the independent vote in new hampshire and the primary is wide open and more independents than anybody else. >> a victory in new hampshire is exceeding market expectations. >> i think eventually you will get down to one conservative in governor romney. gwen: the price for the granite state is in full swing after iowa knocks two candidates for a loop. >> this is a quirky place and quirky process, to stay the least. >> i have decided to stand aside. gwen: the message in this topsy-turvy campaign here, count
on nothing. joining me tonight from new hampshire, stan belt of "the washington post," john dickerson of "slate" magazine and cbs news, julianna goldman of bloomberg news and john harwood of cnbc and "the new york times." >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it happens. this is a special campaign 2012 edition of "washington week" with gwen ifill. produced in association with "national journal." corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> this rock has never stood still. since 1875 we've been there for our clients through good times and bad. when their needs changed, we were there to meet them. through the years from insurance to investment management, from real estate to retirement solutions, we've developed new ideas for the financial challenges ahead. this rock has never stood still.
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hampshire, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: hello from the granite state. we are here this week to bring you the best of our reporting close up. we all have been out trailing candidates from des moines to manchester, counting photo finish caucus results, tracking the latest underdog surge and watching how when stakes rise, so too do the attacks. mitt romney is still favored to win here but his path to victory is not as uncluttered as it once was. let's start there. this has been a long week for the massachusetts governor. former massachusetts governor, hasn't it, dan? >> it's been a long week and also a pretty good week for him. he won the iowa caucuses by a huge marriagen of eight votes we now call land slide. he picked up the endorsement of john mccain, one of his bitterest enemies for four years ago when they appear here. new polls in south carolina and new hampshire show him in good shape in both states. so in many ways you would say he's moving towards the nomination. there are other questions about him.
there are a lot of people in iowa that still didn't want to vote for him. the one card he's got is the electability card but on a lot of other issues there are still questions about whether the party is going to learn to love the former governor. gwen: let's walk through some of those. i want to start with the mccain endorsement, john dickerson. you and i were both there when it happened, manifestly awkward moment with the vanquished nominee from four years ago sitting on the stage with a guy, i believe they mutually attacked one another four years ago in the primary contest. >> they did, they hugged. four years ago mccain would have tackled him to put him down. and he said a lot of things four years ago about romney being unprincipaled, about romney being a phony. i mean the clips line up at some length here. but bigones. that's all gone. they have a new enemy, which is barack obama. this was a good way to kick off romneyment he's got a big league in new hampshire. they had this plan and very quiet, only romney and the campaign manager and mccain knew about it for a while. they dropped it.
it was a great way for the romney campaign to kind of steal the 36 hours after what was a great night for rick santorum in iowa. but the romney campaign had this ready to go, grabbed the news cycle. rick santorum, who has a thread bear campaign wasn't on tv. he was kind of a ghost for a while until later that evening. it was great stage managing except when he got to new hampshire, kind of lackluster event. nevertheless, mccain has now gone out with him and he's helping romney attack santorum on the question of earmarks, which is helpful. so former enemies but now an ally who's by his side. >> julianna, seriously, the two things mitt romney has going for him right now are the idea of -- or aura of inevitability and aura of electability. is that something that counts in new hampshire? is he laying the groundwork for other places? >> new hampshire is known for surprises and not wanting to follow in the footsteps of iowa. he's got electability. what he doesn't necessarily have is relateability. when you talk to voters here
over the past several days, i have been at a number of rick santorum events, an unemployed carpenter said look, rick santorum, he knows what it's like to be part of the working class. i talked to one woman who said, i can relate to rick santorum. mitt romney is just so, so -- and she couldn't think of the word, so rich. so i think that's something that he's going to constantly have to work to overcome, even if he does in fact become the presumptive -- become the nominee. >> i talked to an undecided voter last night who said i was at an event are mitt romney said we have to do better with our investments. she said, i don't have investments anymore. he's not speaking to me. does his people recognize this is a hurdle in a state that still has a big blue collar community? >> sure, they do and they're trying to appeal to some of those voters by talking about his faith, his family, his long marriage. used ann romney to some advantage. but i am hearing the same thing julianna did. i was at a diner in key, new
hampshire and a farmer there said we need a president every once in a while has had dirty pants sometimes in his life. mitt romney is not known for dirty pants or hairs out of place or anything like that. but i think as dan suggested, he's in a very strong position for this nomination. rick santorum has a shot. he needs to do well in new hampshire to keep some momentum going for south carolina and some of the polls show him moving up in south carolina. that's where he's putting all of his money, token buy up here in new hampshire and doesn't have enough to go heavily in both places. but a shot that isn't all that promising for him because it's a long road. mitt romney's prepared for those other states. >> does mitt romney's victory, i guess eight votes is still a victory if we're not still counting in iowa. is that translated at all in new hampshire or do they go, iowa's nothing to us? >> no republican has won both iowa and new hampshire in a contested nomination race. so he's in a position thrullly
make history by doing this. you would say for almost any other kind of candidate there might be that kind of reverse backlash or reverse bounce that new hampshire's julianna said likes to go in a different direction. he's planted a lot of roots in this state and has worked have i diligently to hold on not zwroust what he had but to expand it. they're going -- not taking this for granted, going to work on the weekend on it. a senior adviser to the governor said to me in november, something that is now pertinent, he said winners close. we have to show we can close this out. it looks as though they're on a mission to try to close it as quickly as they can. >> the roots dan talked about are deep. he was after all governor the next store state with the big overlap in the media coverage. people have known him for some time. he's in an optimal position to make history of that kind. i do think from iowa, the most important sort of strategic there was, he avoided an embarrassment.
that is the thing. if he limped in here and looked like he wasn't spreadable or viable, that would have been a problem. didn't happen. >> but there's still quite credible and viable, anybody but mitt movement out there. the main beneficiary was rick santorum. >> that was the case he made in iowa. he would go out to voters and say look, don't settle. there's been a debate in the republican party for the last many, many months between sort of their head and their heart. the head was mitt romney. he's electable. he has a good rift on the economy. he's in the business community. can speak to the number one issue great. that's all very sort of the head. the heart tells you want ron palm or you want santorum or gingrich or somebody who gets you excited about these issues you care about and that's what santorum said at the end. don't give in. don't capitulate. don't do what the politicians in washington you mate do, which is they just kind of ignore their heart and go with the calculation. that paid off and that's what animating the anti-romney. that's the problem.
go with their heart to santorum or gingrich or perry. that splits the vote and romney is the beneficiary. >> rick santorum has been able to raise a lot of money at leaf since tuesday night. >> a million dollars the first day after iowa. >> another million dollars a couple days after that. is he in position to capitalize on this, mostly because voting has actually begun? >> yes, certainly. he, i guess pulling third now, but keeps -- he had the biggest uptick of any other candidate post-iowa here in new hampshire. you go to these diners, you go to these events and something is worker. >> they're listening very closely. >> they are listening closely. they're the crowds rick santorum hasn't seen before. gwen: that's an understatement, yes. >> and yeah, and the obama campaign is also very quick to point out the vulnerabilities of mitt romney, of him saying he came into iowa as a weak front-runner. he left a weak front-runner and
still 25% man. so this all playing out much to the obama campaign's delight as well. >> there's a part of the party that feels they had to swallow very hard to accept mccain four years ago. they don't want to do that again. i think rick santorum is closing message both in iowa and here can be very effective. it is don't listen to the pundits. they have been wrong. there's nobody probably sitting here tonight who would have thought rick santorum would have had the showing he had in iowa and position he's in today. he's saying don't listen to the pundits. you in new hampshire, you and iowa see the candidates up close, be bold, lead. do what you think is best. don't listen to others. he's for all of the people still reluctant about romney. >> and the romney campaign is aware of the danger that poses. before the caucuses on tuesday, one of the romney campaign advisers told me we don't want santorum to finish second. why? because they knew that of the other alternatives to mitt
romney, he was the one that had not been damaged so far. newt had been pounded by negative ads. a lot of other baggage. rick perry had not performed in the debates. he was a declining force in the race. rick santorum was the one fresher, passionate, making the closing case dan mentioned. the problem for santorum at this point is he's very rapidly becoming known but not a lot is being known about him and that makes you vulnerable to somebody who wants to pound you. gwen: does it explain part of john mccain's useful necessary? two days in a row attacking rick santorum as someone who accepted earmarks. newt gingrich said he was my junior when we were in congress together. all of a sudden rick santorum is in the bull's-eye. >> that's right. john mccain, it's hard to tell if he's doing this because the romney folks are nervous, or john mg cane, who doesn't like rick santorum, is delighting beating up on him. it's probably the latter. santorum has two challenges. all of this money is great but it's like putting a super engine
in an old jalopy. it goes barreling out of the front. it's hard to take on is this money and make the decisions about what ads to buy of the all of your new friends on the phone trying to reach you. and as john mentioned all of the new scrutiny coming and other people are defining you just as you're trying to introduce yourself to the whole new set of people who are suddenly giving you a second look. then you get involved, he's campaigning sort of like he did in iowa, talking for hours and hours and hours. he answers one question about same-sex marriage, suddenly he's being defined by that answer, not -- gwen: booed. >> he was booed. it makes the 5:00 news. now he has to deal with that. not talking about economic issues which he prefer to be here in new hampshire where a state of evangelical are small he proportion than iowa. gwen: you raise a question, is there a base in iowa? there's a big catholic vote? >> there's a catholic vote, i believe 38% back in 2008 is catholic. tries to build the coalition of religion conservatives and blue collar workers.
the problem with that is blue collar, manufacturing base in new hampshire has contracted over the last four years. so there's fewer and fewer to try to build that coalition. gwen: there are other candidates in the race that puzzle me, little puzzled by ron paul, who was polling well there -- he was polling well here. he did reasonably well in new hampshire and then he went home as far as we could tell and only returned to the state today. does he have a base here? >> he does have a base here, as he did in iowa. i don't think his organization is considered as good in new hampshire as it was in iowa. this is a state where organization is a little less important than in a caucus state. i think everybody believes he's going to get his vote. and it may be in the range of 15 or 18 as it was in iowa, hit 21%. his people told me before iowa that they thought he had a ceiling of somewhere between 21% and 25%. gwen: and path out of new hampshire for him? >> there's a following for ron paul within the republican coalition at large.
i think there's going to be a piece of that in many, many states. >> the problem, gwen, it's not an expandable coalition. he has no shot at winning the republican nomination. the cerealing that dan talked about is the ceiling that exists pretty much everywhere for him. gwen: what about jon huntsman? he spent all of his time and put all of his attention new hampshire and still isn't in any double digit in polls i have seen recently? >> he wants tobt rick santorum of new hampshire. and he refers to himself that way. i did the state work here in new hampshire, just as rick santorum did it in iowa. santorum, by the way, did a lot of work in new hampshire and south carolina. wlopt it pays off in the end, we don't know. he's done all of the work but romney is much more tore mid-able here than he was in eye a. and we're also seeing one other thing on romney, his numbers are starting to go up in south carolina, which challenges this notion he has got a ceiling of 25%. he absolutely did in iowa. it seems to be written he cannot
get more in iowa than 25%. early polls in south carolina are showing, one showed 17-point bump for romney. when has romney jumped 17 points? that's a surge, word not associated with him in this race. so there's some potential for romney to grow. gwen: one more point about jon huntsman. i talked to him the other day. and when i asked him if he was the moderate in the race, his response was, i had cross-cutting appeal. i asked him what that meant. he said, i don't like labels. ok, he's running away from being a moderate. but isn't that his only possible appeal in a state like new hampshire? >> yes, he got the boston endorsement. he has the appeal, endorsement but at this point in the game, it's just not enough. gwen: it's unclear "the boston globe" endorsement gets republicans elected. >> but perhaps independents. gwen: perhaps independents, which is what he's clearly going for here. newt gingrich, another puzzle. flying high in national polls, even iowa. collapsed pretty spectacularly last week and seems to be
continuing his collapse. >> he got hammered in iowa with millions of dollars in negative ads and didn't respond. took it as a badge of honor he wasn't going to respond and realized not responding was a mistake. i think he ended the campaign in iowa as a very angry person as we saw on caucus night when he gave that speech and did not say anything gracious about governor romney and has come here, in a sense he's got one card here and that is the support of the union leader, which is strong, conservative newspaper here in manchester. and once they endorse a candidate, they stay with that candidate. they've been pushing him all week but it's not clear it's going to have much impact. gwen: he had been doing well in south carolina until the latest round of polls and seems to be collapsing even there. >> when newt gingrich is down, then he gets vicious. it will be really fascinating to see what fireworks come out in the debates this weekend. gwen: let's talk about the debates. there is a circular firing squad
quality developing right now with this, which is to say they all need to take mitt romney down. so how do they do that? >> well, newt gingrich has started doing it by the ad he ran, full-page ads that greeted romney when he landed in new hampshire. talking about the massachusetts moderate. this is now something that comes out of newt gingrich's mouth almost at every event and every chance. what he will do is say, it's a version of the santorum argument, which is a pale pastel to quote ronald reagan will not beat barack obama. we need clear lines that need to be a clear conservative and gingrich will say, here's all of the ways in which mitt romney is just a squishy moderate. don't go with the squishy moderate you think is electable. go with the true conservative, mainly himself, gingrich, and that's the way he will beat barack obama. he will also make the keas in the debate, hand-to-hand combat in october 2012, newt gingrich has the stature, has the chops to do it. he will give everybody a demonstration as he tries to dance on mitt romney.
gwen: i heard he started calling himself bold newt now. not angry newt but bold newt. >> another thing he's doing is circulating a rather devastating ad john mccain fashioned against mitt romney four years ago with all of the sort of flip-flop issues. he will try to bring those to the floor. but he's a declining force in the race. it does not appear he's going to be able to resuss fate himself. -- resuscitate himself. the question will be what does feel is his obligation on behalf of conservatives to take romney down? will he keep doing that through south carolina? or is he going to in deference to santorum, growing force in the race, step aside and make it easier for santorum? gwen: no signs of that yet but i wonder if there are any signs of santorum taking a bead on romney? he really hasn't been that critical of him so far. >> no, indirectly critical. in fact in one of the events in wyndham earlier this week, santorum, he made reference to romney's support for the wall street bailout saying a certain massachusetts governor, you can
go look up who that was. but they may also be waiting for romney to inflict the damage unto himself. remember, this was the debate four years ago that was the you're likable enough moment. if they can get under romney's skin enough for him to get angry or to come off more on the attack, then that could also be beneficial to a santorum or a paul. >> the problem for santorum, of course, is the romney campaign and super pac supporting him have shown if they take somebody seriously, they will go after him. they did it with rick perry when he first got in the race. they did it obviously with newt gingrich. i think if you get to a moment where they perceive santorum as a real threat, they will unload on him. they do it gently. debates, counterattack if he gets attacked, i will assume. they think if he's making headway, they will go after him hard. gwen: some of the most devastating advertising on television has been ron paul going after romney and going after people.
whether he wants to be president or not, he famously said to terry moran at abc, he does not really imagine himself waking up in the white house. i completely and safely say he's the only one in this crowd who's never had that fantasy. but he still has some pretty well produced, sharp digs that he takes at the front-runners. >> that's exactly right. that's one thing santorum has to deal with. one other thing i want to add when we think about the advantages romney has, what money and organization do for you, we keep talking about that, if you look ahead to florida, comes after south carolina, florida has a lot of absentee ballots. romney has the money and organization to target his voters and make sure that when they have ordered in an absentee ballot, filled it out and sent it in. that's the kind of boring day-to-day inside business that he can do that they've been planning for, that santorum, even if he has money where -- you have to get the people. it's too late to get that kind of -- that kind of depth in terms of targeting your voters and getting them to turn out. that's the kind of advantage
romney has that's quite big. >> the whole lucy and the chocolate factory thing. gwen: tell people what you're talking about. >> mitt romney was responding a few days ago to newt gingrich's complaint or the complaint of a gingrich aide that his failure to get on the ballot in virginia was equivalent to the attack at pearl harbor. and romney responded because that was a ridiculous statement by the gingrich person, responded by saying no, it's less like pearl harbor than lucille ball at the chocolate assembly line where she's stuffing them in her dress and putting them in her mouth. she couldn't pack the chocolate fast enough. gwen: we have to bring up within person who's been completing missing in action the way huntsman was in iowa. rick perry is completely missing in action here in new hampshire. and we thought he was on the verge of dropping out of the race. michele bachmann, of course, did drop out of the race this week. what's he doing? where is he going next? what's his plan? >> i think it's a mystery to everybody. he sounded very much on caucus
night as if he were heading back to texas to reassess -- gwen: word reassess. >> which is the signal next step is withdraw. and then next day said he said no, i'm going on to south carolina. apparently to the surprise of a number of his advisers. only thing i can think of is they have money left. they will run some ads. he will make one more run. it's a state they thought he would do reasonably well. gwen: south carolina. >> and reassess after that. >> texas republicans that i talked to seem to think his family n. particular his wife anita, were urging him not to left the iowa result define the end of his campaign and give it one more shot in a much more favorable state in south carolina. see if it makes head way. gwen: that makes sense. >> and the debate, if he decides to participate in the debate and go after romney like he's really competing. talking to a mccain aide who said back in 2008 fred thompson helped romney by taking away
votes by huckabee. so in this year 2012 the role of thompson will be played by perry. taking vote as way from santorum, splitting anti-romney vote an louing mitt romney to at least stay at the top. gwen: we have a minute left. give me a sense of what you're watching for in the next few days. somewhere santorum. i think it will be fascinating to see whether or not this uptick continues. one interesting story i have been reporting is the obama campaign's ground game here. they have seven offices, 20 paid staffers. compare that to the republicans, who santorum, romney, each have seven or eight staffers, one field office here. they're using this as an organizational tool because new hampshire only has four electoral college votes and nearly every single one of the president's maps to victory in november includes winning new hampshire. gwen: it's interesting when i talked to a woman last night, voter who said she voted for obama last night, said she's considering republicans this time and said she's getting so many phone calls from obama people at her house she's saying
this is really over. thank you very much. we will be watching all of it. it's nearly all over but the voting. i say nearly because there are debates between now and two. after last week in iowa, who knows what happened next. for that you have to keep track of what our reporters are writing every day on the radar, on the "washington week" website, on twitter. they're all on twitter. tune in to the pbs newshour online and on air where we will have special primary coverage at 11:00 p.m. eastern on tuesday. then we promise to sum it all up for you as best we can next week on "washington week." good night. >> funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we know why we're here, to connect our forces to what they need when they need it.
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